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National Parks

Glacier National Park – Montana

The ‘itch’ to visit Glacier National Park in Montana came about after watching a Discovery Channel show about the best places to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).  Did I see the northern lights – you’ll have to keep reading to find out!

The trip, taken over the Fourth of July weekend, was a spur of the moment decision and some compromises were made on sleeping arrangements. Glacier National Park campgrounds were booked solid, so we settled on  St Mary/ East Glacier  Kampgrounds of America.

The most exciting moment of going to Glacier National Park was getting there. The 50 mile drive from via Going-to-the-Sun-Road is spectacular. If the sun is shining and the snow has melted, taking in the beauty of the park can take up to three hours to drive from the West entrance to the East entrance. This isn’t because traffic is terribly slow-moving – It’s as slow-moving as any two lane road weaving through mountains. It takes three hours because the snow-capped mountain tops, free-roaming wildlife and natural waterfalls are breathtaking – resulting in a stop every 5-10 minutes.

The bighorn sheep gathered near Logan Pass. Logan Pass is the highest point reachable by car in the park. At this juncture, peaks and valleys are visible for miles.

BigHorn SheepWhile spending a weekend in the great outdoors, it’s important to go out for a hike and see the wildflowers, like the ever present Bear Grass, and the hidden streams along any given path.

Bear GrassWe hiked the 10 mile round trip Iceberg Lake Trail. Along the way we saw mule deer, and we also made sure to wear our bear bells and carry our bear spray as earlier in the day A momma bear and cub were spotted out and about.

Iceberg Lake TrailThe tours conducted by  Glacier Park Boat Company  explored St. Mary’s Lake in all of its glory. The water was a beautiful shade of blue and the reflection of the mountains in the water was a definite sight for ‘city’ eyes.

St. Mary's LakeOh, and about the Northern Lights – It didn’t happen this time. Maybe it’s time to vacation to Iceland and guarantee myself a glimpse of illusive wonder.

Hanging Lake Trail – National Natural Landmark

Cross country road trips are something that every person should partake in a lifetime. I often use to think that all the beauty in the world could only be seen  by hoping on a plane and flying to the other side of the world. I have learned in recent years that some of the most beautiful wonders and interesting achievements can be viewed right here in the good ol’ US of A!

During the drive from Washington State to Rhode Island we drove through Colorado. Colorado provided us with a fantastic view of naturally occurring wonder called Hanging Lake. Off of I-70, Glenwood Springs, Colorado has a trail that is a little over a mile long and primarily all up hill.

HangingLake Sign_Fotor

After making the short, but steep trek to the top…

Hanging Lake V3

You are met with ‘Ferngully’ like views of Hanging Lake. I would highly recommend the hike if you are ever passing through this part of Colorado.

Hanging Lakes3

Palm Springs, California

Living in Washington state makes a trip to California, or anywhere with  a ton of sun, a necessity during the winter months. A short, reasonably priced plane ride from Seattle, Washington to Palm Springs, California was just what we needed to make it through a  rainy winter.

The U2 Album, ” Joshua Tree”, always made me want to visit Joshua Tree National Park in California. On our second day in Palm Springs, my husband, sister-and-law and I decided to hop in the car and explore one of California’s coolest national parks!

Joshua Tree National Park

The Joshua Tree wasn’t in bloom, but they were unlike any tree I had ever seen before and they were beautiful all the same.

Joshua Tree

We  found Marilyn Monroe in Downtown Palm Springs! During the early Hollywood days, the stars were required to be within a two hour drive of the sets where they were working. Palm Springs, California became a favorite destination of Hollywood actors who were looking to get away from the hustle of the city.

“Forever Marilyn”

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tramcar, takes you 8,517 feet to Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

As it was three days before Christmas when we landed in California, we were interested in seeing how the town celebrated the holiday season. We were told about an oddly entertaining art exhibit called Robolights . I would strongly encourage visiting Robolights – you won’t be disappointed! Enjoy the photos.

Robolights

Robolights

Robolights

Robolights

 

Robolights

Robolights

 

Mount Rainier National Park – America the Beautiful

Fact: Seattle, Washington averages 58 sunny days per year.

When a sunny day appears around these parts you MUST take the opportunity to go out and see what the beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. A short drive from home placed us at Mount Rainier National Park – Skyline Trail. The wildflowers were in full bloom and cute furry animals posed for the camera.

Marmot

Marmot

Panorama Point

 On clear days, you can see Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens from Panorama Point. Be mindful of the slippery conditions and find a place to take advantage of having a snowball fight in the middle of the summer.

Golden Gate Trail

On our way down the mountain we saw some amazing greenery and even a waterfall.

Myrtle Falls

Myrtle Falls